This I Believe

Nikki - Brooklyn, New York
Entered on May 15, 2007

I believe in the power of good over evil. I believe that compassion and kindness are intrinsic to humanity. I believe that the voice of the people can effect change and achieve justice. We have seen it happen. But this world has also seen too much horror. Too many people killed, raped, terrorized and displaced over too many years by too many war-mongering, power-hungry regimes that are not truly held accountable for their actions until Hollywood makes a movie about them decades later. We saw it during the Holocaust. We saw it in Cambodia. We saw it in Rwanda. We saw it in Bosnia. We see it in Darfur.

After each of these atrocities, the international community said “never again,” but it IS happening again. A small, wealthy, powerful regime in a country that has suffered from civil war for decades, harbored the most feared terrorist organization in the world, seen the slave trade reinstated to depopulate rebellions, armed radical racist militias against its own people, blocked humanitarian aid and committed some of the most heinous crimes against humanity imaginable is holding the rest of the world at bay with oil and doubletalk. The Sudanese government in Khartoum is not being held accountable for the genocide it is perpetrating in Darfur.

And the question is why? Why has it taken four years to get moving on any meaningful measures by the international community—and namely the United States—to put a stop to this? There are several reasons cited, of course. We have too thinly spread our diplomatic and military capacities in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, North Korea, etc. We need to protect our relationship with China, which needs to protect its relationship with Sudan. We are relying on the (albeit very limited) resources of the African Union to solve this problem. We are providing humanitarian aid to refugees. The American people are more concerned about domestic issues than with human rights violations in other parts of the world.

But I ask: how many people in this country REALLY know what is happening in Darfur? For that matter, how many people would be able to find on a map? How many people know the numbers of those that have been killed, raped or made homeless? I can’t help but wonder about the media’s role in the world’s indifference to what it happening in Darfur. Is it really possible that if every local newspaper, every talk radio station, every syndicate of every morning show, of every ten o’clock news program in this great nation spent as much air time on the crisis in Darfur as they have on the life and death of Anna Nicole Smith…is it possible that people would not speak up in the masses to demand that the world step in and stop the violence? Would we really be so quick to forget the lessons we learned from the Holocaust, Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and all the other times the world has stood by and watched?

I believe that ignorance and apathy are dangers that allow those who know right from wrong to ignore what is upright and profit from wrongdoing. I believe that those who are charged with bringing us the news of the day, should not pander to the dollar by picking Paris Hilton over real news stories. I believe the leaders of those governments that talk about freedom, democracy and global responsibility should have to put their money where their mouth is. I believe in the power of good over evil. I believe in NEVER AGAIN.